5 Ways to make moving easier for kids

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For some, summer means fun activities in the sun, banana pudding ice cream, and glorious days that seem to stretch out almost endlessly. For others, summer might look a bit different. It could be full of moving boxes, packing tape and kids anxious about an impending move. So how do you make moving easier for your kids?

Well first of all, if you’re moving during the summer, congratulations, you’re already winning. But even if you haven’t had to upend their lives in the middle of the school year, it can still be hard. Today, I want to share with you 5 things that will help your kid during a big move and maybe even have them looking forward to it.

Full disclosure, right now, my son is too young to be bothered by any type of move we might make. But as a child, I moved around quite a bit, even to different countries. What I know is, these 5 things will help your child feel some sort of normalcy, and will give them the tools that they need to adjust.

Here we go!

1. Show them what’ll be the same

When we were moving around, it was really important for me to know that there was some stability. I needed to know that even though a big chunk of my life was changing, there were still things that would remain as they always had.

So think about it. What will remain the same in your world? This could be as simple as maintaining your Friday pizza night. You can tell your kids that Fridays are going to go on as they always have.

Will your kids still share a room? Are you keeping your furniture? Will you still make your annual trip to Disney world? Whatever it is, give your kids something to hold onto. They need some sort of comfort and dependability.

When I was growing up, a lot of my friends were military kids. One of my friends told me that every time they moved, they would race to beat their ‘unpacking record’. If I remember correctly, their personal best was 6 hours. They were able to do that because every time they moved, they decorated everything the same way. They already knew where everything in their house went.

This may be a bit extreme for some, but the point is, they had some sense of regularity, and it really made moving easier.

2. Get them excited about what will be different

New places mean new adventures. Get them excited about all of those new experiences they will get to explore!!

Maybe for the first time, your oldest will get their own room (that happened to me with our first move, and I was pretty much sold at that point). Or is there some great new cuisine or restaurant that you are going to get to try? Maybe you’ll get to learn a new language.

The key here is, you have to cater these ‘exciting things’ to each of your children. If you have a child who hates the outdoors, they aren’t going to be excited if you tell them your new home will have hundreds of new bike trails for your family to try. Make sure the new things that you’re mentioning to them actually excite them and then, once you move, follow through. Do those things that you hyped up.

When I moved to Germany from Maryland, it was the summer after 5th grade. It was the first move we’d made, and I’d never set foot in Europe before, let alone Germany. One cool thing that I remember my parents doing was getting some travel books, and pointing out all of the cool things we were going to see.

I didn’t actually read the book, but the pictures got me really excited. It was like we were planning for a vacation, but in actuality, this was a place we were going to get to live. Below are some of the travel books we used, and most of the books are a series, so they probably have whatever country or state you’re looking for. The examples below just say Germany because that’s where I was headed.

**Tip: There are plenty of free travel books and movies about different states and countries included in your Prime membership. Even if you don’t have one, they offer a 30 day free trial, and you can get all of these books and movies free for that amount of time. Here’s the link.**

3. Make sure they keep a link to their friends

Relationships are important. One of the hardest things about moving is leaving the people you love behind. The truth of the matter is, when you move realtionships do change, but that’s not always a bad thing.

Make sure your kids have a plan for how they are going to keep in touch with those they leave behind. For younger kids without phones, maybe this means helping them create an email address so that they can correspond. Maybe for the first long weekend, you take a trip back so they can have a short visit. Maybe you can create virtual play-dates.

Find a system that works for your family. Technology has really helped us be able to keep connected in this way, so take advantage of it. Also, make sure that your kids know the plan. Walk them through the system that you have in place. That way, when they feel sad, or lonely and want to talk with their friend, they know how to do that.

After your move, your kid will probably make new friends, and those old relationships might not be as crucial as they once were. But in the beginning it can really be a comfort to have these to hold on to. It helps them know even though they’ve moved, they haven’t moved on.

4. Give them some sense of control

Obviously they don’t get to decide if you move. That’s your lane. But sometimes, when so much around them is changing, it can feel like they don’t have control over anything.

This is where little decisions come in. Can they pick the color curtains that they want in their new room? Maybe they help you navigate as you drive to your new home? Or maybe even pick which room they want?

The point with all of these examples are, these aren’t huge decisions. They aren’t really going to make a difference one way or the other in our eyes. But to our kids, it could really mean something. It will make them feel like they are apart of the team. But most importantly, it will make them feel heard and important. That’s the goal, isn’t it?

5. Allow them to share their true feelings with you

Regardless of how well you plan, moving is hard. Allow them to express that to you. Don’t diminish their feelings or tell them to suck it up. Don’t even try to fix it, just listen.

Sure, missing out on the epic ‘end of the year slumber party’ may not seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it can be earth shattering to your kid. Let them cry. Allow them tell you their fears. Let them express their worries. Let them express when they feel that things aren’t fair.

For me, sometimes it’s tempting to supress my tough feelings and just get on with life. I don’t always want to dwell on the emotional side of things, I just want to skip to the happy ending. Young kids aren’t that way. Allow them to have their feelings, but also, provide them with productive ways to handle those feelings. This was one of the 7 things your child is never too young to learn, remember? You are their person. Let them come to you.

Moving is a part of life, but I think we’d all like to make it as easy as possible for our kids. We want them to be comfortable and thrive in whatever environment they are in. In my experience, these 5 things are the best way to do just that. Even if all of these ideas won’t work for your family, use the ones that will. Do whatever you can to make sure that your kids have a smooth transition, I know they’ll appreciate it.

For anyone else that has already dealt with a move, what would you add? Let’s help our fellow nomads!

Well that’s all for this week! Make life sweet and learn all you can.

(2) Comments

  1. Oh man I would rather lose a limb then move lol however I do believe the banana pudding ice cream would make it all better!

    1. Amie says:

      haha, I think it would too!!

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